Nant Distillery - A Tasmanian Whisky Producer Conquering the World

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Publishedon 30/08/2014 - 06:55 am


It seems that whisky lovers around the world know something that Tasmanians are only just starting to realise – Tasmania produces a mighty fine whisky. It’s a product that has us being compared to the big boys from Scotland, Japan and America, and in some cases even beating them at their own game. Introducing Nant Distilling Company – the cream of our crop.

Nant Grain WheelNant Distilling Company has been on the scene since 2008, the year they completed the restoration works at Nant Estate. Built in 1821, the estate was in disrepair when the Batt family purchased it in 2004. They painstakingly rebuilt the buildings to original standard stone by stone, dredged the millpond and restored the water mill to its former glory. Today, Nant Distilling Company is one of only a handful of distillers in the world to grow, malt and distill it’s own barley to make single malt whisky, and the only distiller in Australia to include a water mill in the process. This is how whisky was originally produced, and Nant plan to continue this tradition.

The Successes of Nant on the World Stage 

In 2012 Nant achieved global fame when Jim Murray of Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible scored their Nant Single Malt Whisky 63% (American Oak Bourbon Wood) a 95.5/100, a score that earned them the coveted Liquid Gold status. The next year in the China Wine and Spirits Awards they won three awards: gold for Nant Single Malt 63% (American Oak Sherry Wood), silver for both Nant Single Malt 63% (French Oak Port Wood) and Nant Single Malt 43% (French Oak Port Wood). And lets not forget the Nant Single Malt (French Oak Port Wood) 63% which was also awarded Liquid Gold status by Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible, scoring 94/100.

The success of Nant whisky could be attributed to the ideal conditions that are found in Bothwell, Tasmania – the water, which is drawn from the estate’s millpond, is from the river Clyde. Clyde is fed high up in the Tasmanian Highlands by a million year old glacial lake. The estate is higher in altitude than many of the famous Scottish distilleries, which means that the atmospheric pressure helps draw the flavour and colour out of the timber cask, resulting in a more intense liquid. By using smaller barrels of a specially selected timber, the result is a greater ratio of contact during aging. These factors and the age old process that the Nant team are stubbornly (and successfully) sticking to, result in world-class whisky.

Where is Nant Distillery?

Nant DistilleryJust over an hour from Hobart, in the rugged Central Highlands, lies Bothwell. A town of less than 400 people, it is a farming community that is home to Australia’s oldest golf course, Ratho. Nant Estate, located just outside the town, houses the distillery, the mill, the picturesque millpond, as well as a cellar door and boutique accommodation. Here you can taste test the Nant range, take a guided tour of the distillery and mill and purchase Nant whiskies directly. There is an on site restaurant where you can dine on exquisite Tasmanian produce, carefully designed to complement the full variety of Nant Single Malts. You will also find a fine range of local wines. Be sure to leave room for dessert – make sure you try the whisky ice-cream!

The estate is much more than the hub of the operations – Nant Estate is quickly turning into a tourist attraction, helped by being a destination on the Tasmanian Whisky Trail.

The Growth in Popularity of Whisky

A whisky drinker is no longer an older gentleman – in the last five or so years, whisky has begun to appeal to the 25-45 age group, with a large percentage of these being women. Whisky drinkers are a discerning crowd, and appreciate a handcrafted, quality product like Nant.

Nant’s Plans for World Domination

Nant Whisky BarThe awards they have won and the popularity of Nant Estate confirmed to Keith Batt that the world is ready for Nant domination. And what better place to start than the popular Salamanca in Hobart! The Whisky Bar, or Cellar Door as it is better known is tucked down a laneway, underneath one of the famous Salamanca warehouses. Once you enter you will find yourself in an elegantly designed bar where the bartenders are extremely knowledgeable. They will take you on an adventure of the many whiskies produced by Nant Distilling Company, as well as a large collection of the finest single malt whiskies from around the world. Tasmanian produce is the perfect accompaniment, and beautifully presented.

If you can’t make it to Salamanca, you will find Nant bars in Fortitude Valley, Brisbane, Melbourne, or Sydney. In fact, within the next five years, you’ll be able to visit one of 70 Nant Whisky Bars around the world – the first international stop being London, which will open later this year. This incredible feat is made possible by the fact that Nant will be soon triple it’s annual production to 300,000 litres per year of top quality whisky.

Nant Distillery BottlesThis might seem like a lot, but Nant is still classified as being a small distillery, especially compared to Scottish distilleries, where the smallest produces 250,000 litres a year. This will enable Nant to continue to produce handcrafted quality whisky, the likes of which the world cannot get enough of. However you won’t be able to head to your local bottle shop to buy a bottle of Nant. The only resellers of this incredible product are the estate, and one of their many bars. As Keith Batts puts it, “…we can't just put it on a shelf in a bottle shop, we do need to be able to tell our story.” 

It’s well worth a visit to either Nant Estate in Bothwell or to one of the Nant Whisky Bars. It is a fantastic concept, and one that we are sure to hear more about now that both the world, and Tasmanians have taken note of the incredible whisky and spirits that our state produces. The next time you are in Singapore, New York or Berlin and you walk into a Nant Whisky Bar, you’ll know that you are supporting a true Tasmanian success story. 

To learn more about the Nant Distillery visit their website at http://nant.com.au or phone them on (03) 6291 3501.

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